Navy's Mots Advanced Stealth Destroyer Will Be Fitted With Long Range Missiles

The U.S. Navy's request to equip its new Zumwalt-class warships with long-range anti-ship missiles has been approved for the 2019 budget, according to a recent report. The technologically advanced destroyer was originally meant for land attacks, but after the change will be equipped for offensive surface strikes.

USS Zumwalt was commissioned into active service in 2016. The highly advanced warship is leading the way for multi-mission stealth destroyers of the next generation. The ship is visually hard to detect, regardless of whether it's out at sea or close to shore.

The ship boasts tumblehome hull designed to pierce waves and move stealthily through the waters. It has an electric propulsion system and the most current warfighting technology and weaponry. It also has an integrated power system and generates almost as much power as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, so it's already an impressive vessel.

"This ship is an example of a larger initiative to increase operational stability and give the U.S. a strategic advantage. Our Navy and our Marine Corps, uniquely, provide presence - around the globe, around the clock - ensuring stability, reassuring allies, deterring adversaries, and providing the nation's leaders with options in times of crisis," said Hon. Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, at the time the ship was first revealed.

Now, it's getting its first big upgrade.

“After a comprehensive review of Zumwalt class requirements, Navy decided in November 2017 to refocus the primary mission of the Zumwalt Class Destroyers from Land Attack to Offensive Surface Strike,” reads the 2019 U.S. Navy budget request. “The funding requested (…) will facilitate this change in mission and add lethal, offensive fires against targets afloat and ashore.”

Giving the Zumwalt the ability to conduct surface strikes would be consistent with the Navy's current initiatives. The Navy has been attempting to improve offensive capabilities of ships utilizing high-tech solutions.

According to The Diplomat in an article by editor Franz-Stefan Gady, the destroyer still lacks a projectile from its main guns for land-attack strikes.

"With a cost of $800,000 to $1 million per Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) round, the precision ammunition has become too expensive for the service. LRLAP is the only ammunition specifically designed to be fired by the USS Zumwalt’s two 155 millimeter/62-caliber Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), the main armament of the ship with an estimated range of up to 63 nautical miles (72 miles, 115 kilometers)," he writes.

The Navy has now been granted its request for $89.7 million to integrate a integrate Raytheon’s SM-6 long-range supersonic missile, as well as a subsonic long-range Maritime Strike Tomahawk. The tomahawks are a low-cost solution, and will contain upgraded sensors.

The Senate has recently been busy passing legislation to strengthen national defense and support the troops. The bill pushed through for fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Acct has authorized $708 billion to go toward the military to ensure they have any resources needed to handle threats.

Modernization and increased training have been two top priorities to help ensure readiness. In addition, strong measures to support those in the service have been a priority.

The legislation was passed in a vote of 87-10 and is on its way to the president's desk to be signed.

Source: Forces
Photos: YouTube

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